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Now Available In Print! Mandrake Sanctuary Softcover

Traduit en Francais! Le Sanctuaire Des Mandragores


A Monster-Raising Game

In this world, there are endless variations of magical plants, all categorized under the umbrella term 'Mandrake'.

What makes mandrakes special is that they don't just live off of sunlight, water, and nutrients.

For a mandrake to thrive, it needs to be near a sense of purpose.

A mandrake can lie outside the door of a poet, or lounge on the carpet of a classroom, or sit atop a hill watching a construction site, and bask like a lizard under a heat lamp.

As the world has become busier, mandrake sightings have grown less common.

There hasn't been a truly massive mandrake in over a century.

But that's where you come in.

With a little plot of land, you can raise and care for civilization's cast-off mandrakes. You can give them water and light and fertilizer---and you can give them purpose.

It's not always easy work.

The sun burns hot, your arms get tired, and letting yourself genuinely care about something new is always a risk.

But the mandrakes need someone to look after them, and you already have a perfect plot of land for gardening.


Mandrake Sanctuary is an 45 page solitaire game about raising magical plant-creatures. You play by sketching several plots of land onto a piece of paper, and then journaling or drawing your mandrakes as they grow.

Mandrakes grow based on the type of soil mix you've fortified them with. Some mixes activate when you work out, or relax, or do something creative, or spend time with a friend. Others activate when you simply make it through the day.

Overall, you can watch your garden grow over time, filling with healthy mandrakes as it does.

There's no pressure to the gameplay, and your mandrakes can get by just fine without tending. Mandrake Sanctuary is designed to be easy to pick up and put down, and overall to be a chill and relaxing game about taking care of a bunch of corgi-sized plant-critters.


(en español) You can catch Mandrake Sanctuary discussed along with other games in the genre on Rol Solo



  • 5.18.22: Minor cosmetic edits to text, added cut-out garden plots for convenience, renamed the plots pages to gardens for textual accuracy
  • 9.28.22: Massive and total overhaul. Clarified text, added new art, improved player guidance, clarified rules, expanded cut-out plots and journaling space, improved layout.
  • 1.27.23: Corrected an important botanical error. Spider plant is now properly identified as a spider plant, not a spider lily.
  • 1.29.23: Corrected another important botanical error. Spider plant is now properly identified as a Comosum, not a "Cosmosum." This is hopefully the last spider plant related correction.
CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(33 total ratings)
GenreRole Playing
Tagschill, Gardening, LARP, monster-raising, monster-taming, self-help, trpg


Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Mandrake Sanctuary 1.29.23.pdf 2 MB

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(1 edit) (+2)

This is a flexible game that gently encourages real life activities of your choice. I have been using index cards, with the Mandrake drawing on the blank side, and info about the species and soil on the lined side. 

The whole book has a kind tone, and emphasizes the individual person tuning it to what they enjoy. I am enjoying using this to reward myself for small good habits (like getting through a work day, or stretching) and I keep a Mandrake in Retort's soil so there's always at least one that gets to grow. I like that there is no cost to failure, someone else can always care for your mandrakes, and they can just grow slowly if needed. It's a nice excuse to doodle a leaf in the morning and reflect on things I did.

I could see this being fun to do with children, perhaps using a large piece of paper and crayons if they are younger, or using stickers or a coloring page to gradually fill in. If you want something that pushes you to reach for loftier goals, but doesn't punish you for missing a day, this may work for you! If you feel like the many habit-forming phone apps are too pushy with their notifications, or you feel bad seeing a tracker skip a day, or you just like the excuse to use a pen and paper, then I would recommend giving it a try.

This review earned me +15 Archivist Points for Heroic Archivist. :)


Thank you for the wonderful review! And congratulations on the Archivist Points!


FYI: I'm highlighting the Solo and Alone 3 bundle entries in my Twitter feed. https://twitter.com/RabbitMatchGame/status/1618830033145171969 (Extra delight Francita Soto's work in something not as grim as my own entry.)


Thanks for the spotlight!

And I'm super happy to have been able to include Francita's graphic design, Jonas' graphic design, and Hector's art!

(1 edit) (+3)

I loved the concept, n if I dig the game enough you might get some fugly fanart n maybe a Spanish translation (you don't have a say on the first one,  it **will** happen)! It should pair well with the upcoming one, amirite? #latinlanguagegang ^^


I'd love to see fanart and a Spanish translation! And I'm glad you dig the concept!


I’m enjoying the game and have been thinking about the mechanics for a butterfly sanctuary hack based on it. When I finish writing the hack, do you mind if I post it to Itch?


Please do! I'd be thrilled to see more stuff based on this engine!


My garden has started! This is adorable. And already helpful. I didn't have space for a paper garden lot or spare cards, so I made cards from cardstock and put them in a self made envelope. Will report back in some weeks!


This is a lovely game that, for me, gets me to do some things every day more reliably without being micromanaging nor unforgiving of my high flare-up days. 

I don't have room to lay out a plot of mandrakes nor playing cards to spare, so I cut up cards and made an envelope for them, and that works for me. You can also do a pure journaling version if drawing isn't your thing.

I am just growing some flowers from Việt Nam in my sanctuary. You can be very flexible with the theme.

I always have one plant growing in Retort's soil mixture (activates if you survive the day), and that is enough to keep me going even if I wasn't able to activate any of the other mixtures that day.

Thank you so much for the game!


That's wonderful!

I love the envelope idea, and growing local flowers.

And I'm glad the retort's mixture has been helpful.

I'm glad your garden's growing well!


Still at it most every day. This has helped me a lot in staying on target with developing good habits and even decreasing bad ones, with a margin of forgiveness that doesn't trigger my anxiety. Especially when my CPTSD flares up. Love it. Still working on my original six plants gradually.


This is the highest praise I could have hoped for. Thank you!


I love this game! The idea is very cute, and the art is beautiful. I just read the manual, and I'm starting to make the garden. I can't wait to start raising mandrakes!
Thanks for the game! ^^


Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!